Country Director – Mali

Helen Keller International

Country Director  –  Mali
Bamako, Mali 

Established in 1915 with Helen Keller as a founding trustee, Helen Keller International (HKI) works to save the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. Headquartered in New York City, HKI currently offers programs in 21 countries in Africa and Asia, as well as in the United States.  The organization combats the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research. HKI is recruiting a country director for Mali.

Country Program Overview

Beginning in Mali in 1999, HKI supports the government’s efforts in the fight against malnutrition by implementing a wide range of activities including: Vitamin A supplementation, food fortification, essential nutrition actions and community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM). HKI has supported the national program for blindness control for 8 years, in particular school health and trachoma and has expanded this engagement to provide technical assistance to the national program for integrated control of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) as well as implementing the SAFE strategy for trachoma control. The current political situation, including difficulties of access in the North create specific challenges to maintaining delivery of our programs and we are seeking a leader who is familiar with operating development programs in a rapidly evolving political and security environment.

Scope of the Position

The country director represents HKI and is responsible for all HKI-Mali programs. HKI-Mali works with a several partners, notably the Ministry of Health, research institutions, UN agencies (especially UNICEF), international NGOs and private sector in the areas of nutrition, food security, and the control of neglected tropical diseases. Nutrition programming actions include support to the national vitamin A supplementation program; industrial fortification of wheat flour and cooking oil; promotion of essential nutrition actions package in different regions of Mali; CMAM in 10 districts in three different regions; technical assistance for agricultural research on bio-fortified millet and sorghum varieties (with iron and zinc); and a pilot homestead food production project. In the area of blindness prevention and neglected tropical diseases (NTD), HKI is working with the national programs for the control of trachoma, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, intestinal worms and lymphatic filariasis in a nationwide program, providing technical and financial assistance for strategy, planning, mass drug distribution, communication, and monitoring.  Most programs have a strong community radio and behavior change communication components.  HKI-Mali currently has a staff of about 50 employees. Key donors include USAID; Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada; Conrad N. Hilton Foundation; END Fund; and the McKnight Foundation. Recent past donors include the European Union and UNICEF.

The Country Director (CD) has overall responsibility for supervising the implementation of HKI-Mali programs and management of the office, including performance management of staff, to achieve the HKI mission and the objectives established in grants. The CD is responsible for representing HKI and securing funding for project activities in Mali; developing and implementing strategic and annual plans to further the HKI’s mission in Mali; program design, proposal development, implementation and reporting; financial and grants management; operations, security, and human resource management. This position is based in Bamako, Mali, with travel to field sites. The CD reports to the Regional Director for West Africa (based in Dakar) and works closely with other staff members at HKI’s Africa regional office and headquarters. The CD leads and directly supervises the country management team, including the finance manager and the manager for administration and human resources.

Specific Responsibilities

Overall Management and Leadership

  • Implement and periodically update HKI-Mali strategic plan
  • Make rapid adjustments to HKI program, in line with our mission, but responding to the challenges and opportunities presented by the rapidly evolving political situation.
  • Generate funding from international and bilateral agencies, donor agencies, corporations, and individuals in collaboration with national, regional and headquarters staff in alignment with the country office’s strategic plan.
  • Manage financial resources and provide oversight for grants.
  • Manage key project personnel including supporting their ongoing professional development.
  • Provide vision and direction for overall program design and proposal development; program implementation and reporting; grant management; financial planning; and human resource planning and management.
  • Represent HKI in formal and informal meetings with government officials, international donor agencies, and national technical advisory groups pertinent to HKI project activities.


  • Provide technical input to the government, international donor agencies and technical advisory groups pertinent to HKI project activities.
  • Oversee research design, dissemination of information gathered and advocacy to advance programmatic and policy changes.
  • Oversee and coordinate the program portfolio to ensure the highest level of project quality and accountability, while fostering continuity through building local capacity.
  • Ensure implementation of strong program monitoring, evaluation and learning functions.
  • Disseminate findings from HKI projects that are of importance to decision-makers in a position to fund or implement projects in Mali and internationally.
  • Keep national partners and others informed about progress of the projects, plans for the development of new programs/projects/activities and donor involvement in the overall program.

Financial and Administrative

  • Work with HKI Regional Office and Headquarters to manage the development and implementation of annual country budgets.
  • Prepare financial reports that comply with grant or contract agreements.
  • Ensure timely submission of financial reports within the guidelines established by the HKI Finance and Accounting Department and the Grants and Contracts Management Department.
  • Authorize expenditures for grant or contract allocations and ensure compliance with procedures required by grant or contract agreements.
  • Hire and manage personnel for Mali projects in compliance with HKI policies and lead initiatives to develop staff capacity.


  • Minimum seven years of field experience in international public health or nutrition programs including demonstrated experience in program development, implementation and evaluation.   Experience in, or willingness to learn, about nutrition and NTD control necessary.
  • Minimum masters degree in public health, nutrition, agriculture, development, management or related field.
  • Experience working in complex emergencies, particularly working across the emergency to development continuum.
  • Demonstrated ability to undertake high-level representation and advocacy.
  • Demonstrated capacity to mobilize program funding including donor cultivation and grants writing.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage staff and other administrative and financial activities in developing country programs – five years experience in a management position.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including an ability to lead a team, communicate a vision, make timely and transparent decisions, and manage conflict.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and create budgets and monitor financial status.
  • Experience in managing USAID projects and familiarity with USAID policies and regulations.
  • Ability to design and implement workshops, seminars, surveys, monitoring systems and evaluations Experience in research design, data analysis and interpretation.
  • Computer literacy, including use of Internet, word processing and spreadsheets. Experience with EPI-INFO and/or SPSS will be an advantage. 
  • Fluent English and French:  Excellent oral and written English language skills, good oral and written French language skills, including the ability to quickly synthesize complex technical and programmatic issues into concise communications.
  • An ability to maintain balance when under stress.

The initial contract is for two years with possibility of renewal.

To Apply:

Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to noting the position title in the subject line. 

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.